The lawsuit against eight “Essex Boys” traders”, accused of colluding to drive the price of oil down in order to make huge profits selling futures contracts, reinforces how it is possible for any message to get out over Whatsapp. All recorded in black and white through messages in a WhatsApp group chat – their hearts must have sunk when they realised that their messages had all been recorded.
What’s interesting here is both the volume and the specific context of these alleged messages. Having come to prominence in Energy Markets in 2016, WhatsApp is now the de facto messaging service across many global capital markets. Many investment banks have been forced to accept that clients actually prefer using WhatsApp over other more “traditional” messaging platforms like Bloomberg causing senior managers to scramble to update their long-outdated policies of prohibition.
The simple reality is that in the 21st century, in business as in life, WhatsApp and other instant messaging channels are now the norm – not the exception. Banks and other financial institutions need to shift their attitude to embrace modern communication methods, in order to practice effective risk management and governance.